This Newsletter contains printed materials recovered using OCR technology

Newsletter #27 - Summer 1999

1. Newsdesk

2. Peter D. Harris A tribute to the late Peter Harris
3. Visit to Chatham
A report on our members visit to Chatham's Old Brook Pumping Station and Fort Amherst
4. New Wimbledon Civic Forum
News on the formation of the new Civic Forum for Wimbledon
5. London Walking Forum
A report on the work of the London Walking Forum, and the changes needed to the Wandle Trail to enable it to comply with the new standards
6. The Prize is Ravensbury Mill
Ray Leyden re affirms our commitment to the move to Ravensbury Mill, and its relevance to our mission statement
7. The Miller's Song
A risque song about millers and their proverbial characteristics as rogues and lotharios from 'Everyman 's book of English Country Songs'
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The Wandle Industrial Museum

THE WANDLE INDUSTRIAL MUSEUMThe Vestry Hall Annexe - London Road - Mitcham -Surrey - CR4 3UD - Telephone - 0181 648 0127
Part of the William Morris Stained Glass & Tapestry Works , Merton Abbey. 1913.

Part of the William Morris

Stained Glass & Tapestry Works , Merton Abbey. 1913.


Museum open every Wednesday 1-4 pro and first Sunday of each month 2-5 pm

The Museum also welcomes schools and groups by appointment





The Vestry Hall Annexe, London Road, Mitcham, Surrey CR4 3UD

Tel: 0181 6480127

OPEN: Every Wednesday 1 - 4 pm; First Sunday of each month 2-5 pm.

The Museum is also open to schools and groups by appointment. Admission: Adults 20p, Children & Senior Citizens 10o



Visitors to the Museum We are pleased to report an excellent turn out for the Museums Week "Magical History Tour" when over 50 members of the public visited the Wandle Industrial Museum as part of the tour. We are also pleased to report that our Textile Workshops for schools are now up and running again. Thanks to volunteers, Mary Hart and Auriel Glanville who have stepped into the breach since the death of Peter Harris. We have recently had four school visits from Malmsburv Middle School which were most successful.

Outreach Once again the National Trust Favre at Morden Hall Park in May proved a popular event; this year blessed with beautiful sunny weather. Thanks to all volunteers who set up and manned our stall over this three day event. Nearly £300 was raised which was very good indeed. We always need volunteers for fetes and fairs, especially car owners. Please telephone the Museum if you can offer help in this way.

Volunteers It is with regret we have to report the death of Peter Harris, long time volunteer and Vice Chairman of the Management Committee. (See the tribute to his life and work on separate page).

However in his memory, volunteers Mary and Nicholas Hart and Meg Thomas, have mounted a new exhibition in the Museum of his drawings which illustrate "The Historic River Wandle" taken from the three books in that series. The Exhibition is open now, so do make a trip to the Museum to see it.

Members Events

Past Outing to Medwav Live Industrial Museum See article on separate page.

Present Visit to Cobham Mill -A report will go out in the next


Future Museums Annual General Meeting Planned for Thursday, October 7th at "The William Morris" at Merton Abbey Mills at 7.30 p.m. Speaker to be announced. Further details to follow.

Wandle Industrial Museum Membership There are still a few member who have not yet renewed their 1998-9 membership. A reply slip is included for our subscription. We regret we will not be able to send you any further Newsletters or reminders.

Sheila Harris 28/6/99


PETER D. Harris

Peter Harris, local scientific artist historian and naturalist, died on 19 May 1999 aged

64. He was born on July 20 1934.

Peter Harris, local scientific artist historian and naturalist


It is with great sadness that we report the death of Peter D. Harris, vice chair of the Wandle Industrial Museum, a well known local figure and a respected local scientific artist historian and naturalist, who died on May 19, at St Helier Hospital, after a long illness.

Peter and his wife Sheila, who were both teachers, came to Merton from Cheshire in the mid 1960's, settling first in North Mitcham, then in Tamworth Lane, and, finally, Cannon Hill Lane.

Peter cut his

archaeological teeth

digging Roman sites

at Chester, but, once

in Merton, it was the

Wandle and its rich

heritage which caught, and held, his

attention, to become one of his main

interests. In recognition of his work, he

more recently received a Mayor's Award

from the London Borough of Merton for

his services to the community.

This was not to overlook Peter's other activities. His work with the handicapped included the creation of the Ram Jam Band, which channelled the talents of people less fortunate, and provided many concerts for local people.

Peter was, of course, deputy manager at the famous Jan Malinosowski Centre for over 20 years and helped adults with learning difficulties. He was also a senior

server at the Sacred Heart Church, Edge Hill, Wimbledon.

On the heritage front, Peter was also a member of the Merton Historical Society, and served on the committee for many years. He was Chairman from 1987 to

1989. As well as being a member of the Merton Arts Council, and the Merton Scientific Society he also formed his own exhibition in the 1980's portraying the creation of the Universe, entitled Fantasia - A History of Life, and was featured at the Wimbledon Library Gallery and at other local venues.

Displays at the Wandle Industrial Museum of which he was a Trustee, owe much to his artistic ability, for Peter was an artist of considerable talent. Peter was also a familiar figure around the borough as he was always ready to give talks on the Wandle, illustrated from his own extensive collection of slides. It is Peter's artistic skill and historical knowledge, which he freely donated, by which he will be fondly remembered. The Wandle Industrial Museum amongst many other groups, owes a special debt of gratitude for his work on the Wandle. Peter's departure will leave a difficult gap to fill, but his memory will endure as will his legacy to local studies.

He is survived by his wife Sheila, and his sisters Eileen and Paula.




In April some of the Museum Members joined the Merton Scientific Society on a trip to Chatham.

Our first port of call when we reached the Medway towns was The Old Brook Pumping Station. The pump house was built in the 1920s to house the Diesel run engines that were designed to pump away excess storm water. The engines still carry out the same task today, they could have been replaced by an automatic engine but, fortunately, these engines were preserved and work just as efficiently as they did when they were first installed.

The engines were started up and showed that working there was not a peaceful task as the noise was deafening. Our host strove manfully to speak to us over the noise of the pumps. When we went outside to see the result of all the pumping we were met with another roar of sound, this time from the water itself.

Inside again, we looked at some of the other machinery on show including a rare hot air engine from the 1890s, a printing machine from 1845 and a boot sewing machine from early this century.

And of especial interest to us were the very detailed models of wind and water powered mills.

From the pumping station we walked up the hill to Fort Amherst, which overlooks Chatham dockyard. Chatham dockyard has been important in the ship building since Henry Vlll's time. It was therefore seen as an obvious target for invasion after Napoleon came to power and began his conquests

Fort Amherst was one of a string of forts built as a defence against the French, who at this time were seen as a very real threat.

The main firepower is aimed inland, this was to defend the shipyard against forces who would have landed on the south coast and travelled north towards the Thames estuary. Needless to say it never shot a round in anger.

Much renovation work has been carried out, some of it funded by English Heritage and the fort is now a living museum. There are many volunteers, some of whom dress in costumes of the Napoleonic era and then explain to visitors the role they played in the running of the fort, and what it was like to live at the fort during its time as a manned station.

While we were there a small group of children were dressed up as soldiers and were put through their paces by the sergeant. The sergeant also discharged a musket, and we were very surprised by the shock wave, which could be felt in the coach!

We were given a tour of the fort, which covered quite a large area, both on the surface and underground.


In one of the underground areas a lady volunteer gave us a very lively description of life as an army wife. Her other role on that day was to feed a hungry horde of youngsters who were enjoying a birthday party during which they had a tour of the fort dressed up as miniature soldiers.

Some members of the party enjoyed a very pleasant lunch in the small restaurant, while others picnicked outside in the company of some rather hungry chickens!

All in all a very enjoyable and informative day was had by all. XMeg Thomas


The Wimbledon Civic Forum is bringing together the people of Wimbledon and their institutions - social, commercial, charitable and ethnic - so that they can create a new sense of civic purpose in their town and ensure the participation of the community in the management of its civil life.

This challenge and vision has been brought together by the inspiration of Roger Casale M.P. for Wimbledon who was keen to create a community organisation to bring local people face to face with key decision makers and personalities with the aim of improving the quality of our community life and local amenities in Wimbledon.

As all Wandle Readers will be aware the Wandle flows through all parts of the Borough of Merton and is the reason why the Water-wheel was chosen as Merton's logo

If anyone would like to support the Wimbledon Civic Forum they can become a friend and help to shape the future of Wimbledon as well as seeking opportunities to improve the River Wandle in Wimbledon.

For more information contact:-

Wimbledon Civic Forum
200 The Broadway,
Wimbledon, SW19 1RY
Tel/Fax           0181 2880957


Ray Leyden 5/7/99



The aim of the London Walking Forum is to have a 2,000km network of green leisure walking routes in London. Much of this aim is in place already, built round the arteries of the Thames Path National Trail, Lee Valley Walk, Green Chain Walk and Grand Union Canal Path, and are enjoyed by thousands every day.

The Forum has been trying to connect these linear routes and has created The London Loop a kind of "M25 for Walkers", an orbital path 150 miles round with one third of it signposted. It is hoped to have it completely signed within two years.

Jim Walker the Director says his vision is "To create a London where people choose to walk as a way of travel, be healthy and relax". He wants everyone who lives, works or visits London to know about and be excited by the walking opportunities here.

There are 300 leisure walks being promoted in London and over 100 maps and guides published for walkers including of course our own Wandle Trail.

To be acceptable to the London Walking Forum our Wandle Trail needs to be altered and amended to include much more information for walkers.

Information required includes:- Refreshment points;

Toilets Car parks Access points

Links to other London walks Public telephones Road and road names Extension of route to East Croydon Station Approximate scale indication Accessibility for people with special needs Train, Tramlink and bus information Underfoot walking conditions information Ordnance Survey grid references for start/finish

It will be quite a task to update the Wandle Trail Map to meet the standards of the

London Walking Forum but it is a challenge that the Museum hopes to meet in the


The London Walking Forum has two immediate aims; firstly, to change popular attitudes to walking and to create a culture where everyday walking is acceptable. Secondly, it needs to get London's pedestrian ways recorded.

The Forum also wants to see a string of initiatives coming with a walking element. Current walking initiatives include the British Tourist Authority's Britain for Walkers Campaign, the English Tourist Board's Walking Tool Kit to be launched in June and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Region's National Walking


Strategy which will guide regional authorities on the importance of walking and call for local planning to encourage it. It will be good for the Wandle Industrial Museum's own Wandle Trail to be part of this ongoing project.

Adapted from an article Capital Walks" by Jim Walker, Director of the London Walking Forum in "Rambling Today" the official magazine of the Ramblers' Association. Extra information supplied by Phil Rvder Environmental Services Dept. London Borough of Merton.

Sheila Harris/May 1999








114c Waddon New Road, Croydon, CRO 4JE, England

Saturday and Sunday 11-12 September 1999

Supporting local charities

Great walking for everyone in lovely

countryside in the London Boroughs of



Croydon and Bromley and in Surrey



BWF approved event BWF/911/99 Organised by Walkwise (BWF 91)



Lets not forget the prize that is waiting for us. A move to Ravensbury Mill, which is situated over the River Wandle on the corner of Morden Road and Wandle Road on the Morden/Mitcham border.

The Museum will tell the story of Ravensbury Mill, a historic Grade II listed building and the River Wandle, which was known as the hardest worked river in the Kingdom. Other related subjects will include the use of water power, the arts and the crafts of the Wandle Valley area and working and living conditions from the time of the Domesday Book to the present day.

As we reported in our Winter 1998/99 Newsletter, we are now in the process of producing a re-application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which was made possible by an enquiry led by our local M.P. for Mitcham and Morden, Siobhain McDonagh, supported by her colleagues Roger Casale, M.P. for Wimbledon and Tony Colman M.P. for Putney, who obtained the green light to re-apply.

We are pleased to advise our members and supporters that through the hard work of our Finance and Fund-raising Subcommittee, which is chaired by our Honorary Treasurer, Lisa Connor and supported by Nicholas Hart, Solicitor, Ellen Eames, Economist and Ray Leyden, Company Secretary, a new draft financial plan and cash flow analysis was presented to the Chief Executive on the 15th April 1999, for their support in the re-application process. At the time of going to press we understand our submission has been disseminated to the various departments and we await the outcome before we can formally proceed with our re-application to H.L.F.

Needless to say, the re-application has generated a new workload of its own. The budget cost of the project had to be reduced to £500,000 inc. VAT and this meant that everything has to be re-costed and new partnership funding has to be found but at the end of the day it is the prize at the finish that keeps this project on the right track.

We are also part of a wider vision of Merton Council, to become one of a number of interlocked initiatives which are already underway to promote the Wandle Valley and our objective is to use lottery funds to firmly establish the Museum as the flagship scheme in the Wandle Valley. This will bring much civic pride to the London Borough of Merton and we shall run the race to claim this prize.

Ray Leyden 5/7/99


Related articles


In addition to being stereotyped as rogues. Millers are also traditionally presented as being sexual athletes. Perhaps the good living ensured by their peculations gave them energy. Often the two characteristics are shown as going hand in hand, with the miller forcing his attentions on an unwilling victim. In this song, however, both parties find their bargain mutually beneficial. The song makes clever use of the opportunities for double entendre offered by the jargon of milling

The song was collected from George Dunn by Roy Palmer on 27 1 1975, and published by the latter in Everyman 's book of English Country Songs, Ed Palmer,pub!ished Dent, 1979. Dunn, who died in '75, was a chainmaker of Quarry Bank in Staffordshire. The first four verses can be heard on record on LEF

A bonny lassy, bright and gay,

Walked up into a mill one day

She'd a peck of com she had to grind

But never a miller could she find

With a fal the diddle aye do, fall the diddle ay,

Fal the diddle aye do, fal the diddle day.

At length the miller, he came in;

That pretty fair maid she did begin:

"A peck of corn I have to grind,

But never a miller can I find.

With his fal the diddle" etc

"My stones are up, my water's low

My mill is not in tune to go."

But they talked of love till love grew kind,

And then the mill began to grind.

With his fall the diddle, etc

"Now you go home, my pretty dear,

For your corn's ground and my mill's clear,

But if it has been ground ten thousand times o'er,

Fm sure you never had it ground so well before.

With my fal the diddle, etc

Said this bonny lass still blithe and gay

"A bargain I will make this day;

I'll bring my corn here every year

To be ground at the same price as before.

With a fal the diddle aye do. fal the diddle av.

That means I'll never, never have to pav."

Stephen Ashcroft

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